The outsourcing translations service industry in the U.S. in 2018 is at a worth of just under $5 billion opens in a new window and $47 billion worldwide. And that number will increase now that AI has entered the market.
Investors are scrambling to get in on the industry’s profits. As are developers who want to create the next big thing in artificial intelligence.
But are AI translation-assistants here to stay? We’re answering that question and more today with this guide to the present and the future of the AI translations service industry.
Want to know more about the future of AI’s role in translation services? Keep reading.
What is Artificial Intelligence?
The theory behind the thinking-machine was first introduced by Alan Turing in the 1950s. Soon after, a man named John McCarthy coined the term “artificial intelligence.”
But, like many people, you may be wondering: What exactly is AI opens in a new window?
According to McCarthy, AI programs perform tasks that, when completed by people, are thought to involve intelligence. For instance, humans generally perceive the TV show of Jeopardy! as the intelligent person’s game. And IBM’s Watson is already capable of beating humans at it.
Today, the definition of AI goes a little bit further. Not only must these machines be intelligent, but they must also:
- Respond in ways that traditionally only humans could do
- Learn from prior experiences and mistakes and adjust accordingly
- Act based on contemplation, judgment, and intention
In other words, there is an element of thinking that is involved, not just memorization.
AI is revolutionizing the technology industry. It also started to seep into other markets. Translation services are one sector in which AI is improving the efficiency of the business.
Why AI in Translation?
The physical barriers of the past no longer keep countries around the world apart. Demand for new language translation services has stemmed from increasing international business and continuing globalization trends.
This is no surprise since companies that do international business are selling millions overseas. Or, in IBM’s and many other large companies’ cases, billions!
Yet the success of a global venture hinges upon successful and timely communication. That’s why an AI translations service is such an exciting prospect.
Already there are new technologies like earpieces that can translate conversations in real time. There’s also software that translates entire web pages with eerie accuracy. And this is helping attract more international prospective buyers.
The more accessible online content is, the more customers a business can potentially reach. Customer service will improve too, when communication is faster and more precise.
How is AI Currently Used in Translation?
Human translations have always suffered from a few setbacks.
The 3-stage translation process (translation, edit, proof) is difficult to scale, prone to error, and extremely slow. From the file prep stage to the final quality assurance check, a sizable translation project can take weeks and even months. And it requires the collaboration of multiple workers.
But companies can streamline the process while maintaining quality translations. How? By using AI-assistance during the translation stage.
Want to reduce costs and time during translation process? Want to output larger content volumes and get your products out on the market faster? Then in some instances, it’s time to consider using AI to assist in the translation.
AI can help you streamline your translation workflow. Specifically, turnaround times (TATs) will improve with the assistance of AI.
AI programs for instance can create accurate memory databases from previously translated text and reuse them. They can hence learn from prior experiences and mistakes.
Unlike traditional machine translation engines, AI-based translators can better capture and understand the nuances within a language. Both grammar and context improve on the first try when AI assists with the translation.
In some cases, up to half of the translation from AI translators can be used intact. This means less work for humans to edit or modify the machine generated translation and a quicker TAT for the customer.
Lowers Translation Cost
Translation is often in the critical path of a localization process. It takes up 60% or more of the needed time. By streamlining translation with AI tools, the entire localization process can significantly shrink both in time and cost.
Translations that can benefit from the assistance of AI technology can therefore be done in half the time it used to take, lowering costs of localization by as much as 30%.
It is important however to note that AI translation tools are not yet capable of handling all language, subjects and content types. They tend to work better where less creativity is involved. Also, sophisticated formatting tends to throw the AI engines off.
Furthermore, products and content that has already been translated by professional human translators and simply requires an update will not benefit much or at all from AI translators. Translation memory tools are more effective here. The incremental translation work required in the updates is often too little and too dependent on previous translations that requires much more human intervention.
The Future of AI in the Translations Service Industry
Internet access is expanding in countries across the globe.
As more and more cultures gain access to the digital world, the demand for new languages and subjects will continue to grow. And with the help of AI, it looks like the translation service industry will, too.
The future of AI in translations looks bright.
Quantum calculation computers are already performing complex mathematical operations using qubits to store information. This technology could be used to improve AI translators.
The problem of privacy in the translations industry can be addressed by combining blockchain with AI. Already, startups are combining the two technologies in order to secure data through smart contracts.
Additionally, facial recognition could provide major upgrades to machine interpretation. In theory, an AI device could recognize the facial and mouth patterns of a speaker. It could then learn to create individualized translations that fit a person’s speaking patterns and even pick up on sarcasm.
For Now, Continue to Depend on Professionals
AI is streamlining the translation process. With it, machine translation is becoming more accurate the first time. But these systems still have a long way to go and a lot to learn.
Until the AI industry works out those kinks, consider hiring a translation company for all your digital needs. One that knows when and where to apply AI, and when to rely on traditional and proven methods.
GlobalVision International can do all that seamlessly within its translation management system.
Find out more about our localization and translation services. Or contact us to get your business on the road to international success.
This white paper will guide you through the translation & localization process. It will show you how a reliable Translation Management System can alleviate many translation issues typically encountered in traditional translation and localization processes. Download it for free!